ROMANCOKE, Md. -- The Romancoke Volunteer Fire Department hosted a live burn exercise to demonstrate the importance of residential fire sprinklers to families Sunday afternoon.
Maryland's State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci said 300,000 fires have happened in the state so far this year, with dwelling fires contributing the most.
At the demonstration, families were able to see the level of destruction a fire caused by not having a smoke detector or emergency sprinkler system.
"It's incredible to see what the difference is between having one and then having rooms that don't have sprinklers," said Kevin Adams of Stevensville.
"The local communities, the local governments, cannot opt out of the residential sprinkler requirement. So all new homes that are built in the state of Maryland are required to have a residential sprinkler system in them," said Geraci.
The State Fire Marshal said the number one cause of home fires is about to skyrocket as the holidays draw near.
"Typically we see the number one cause being cooking fires. That's usually the number one cause here in Maryland and nationwide," said Geraci.
The demonstration allowed the crowd to see a flashover in action; it's a deadly blaze that can turn a kitchen or living room into a raging inferno in less than three minutes. Geraci says new homes built today are more prone to severe fire damage.
"The newer homes that are being built these days there's lightweight construction so there's less materials in the home. They burn much faster. So the fire dynamic in these homes have changed dramatically," he said.
After watching the live burn demonstration, Adams said he's convinced to install his home with fire sprinklers sooner rather than later.
"We have some smoke detectors in there right now and I think we're going to go start doing the fire sprinklers. We don't have that installed yet because it's older. So we're definitely going to be looking into getting those," said Adams.